Becoming the Enemy

Let me backtrack a little. It’s been two months since Thanksgiving when my family got into a spat over the presidential election. My parents, siblings and I nibbled on turkey as my uncle’s family—a trio of white collar, east-coast types— argued why there was no way Donald Trump could win.

When they tried to imagine, in this satirical, almost theatrical way, why people would vote for him, they were at a loss for words. But when they did the opposite—when they tried to come up with reasons why people shouldn’t vote for Trump—there was no shortage of condescending insults and snarky asides. By the time we got to pumpkin pie and ice cream, they had said irrevocable things about their fellow country people.

Fast forward to the present and you’ll see that all political discourse in this country has been reduced to a binary equation, and journalists like myself, who wish to remain impartial, are forced to tip toe around important issues that, in an ideal world, would receive the heaviest scrutiny.

When Donald Trump pointed at senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta last week at a press conference and called CNN “fake news,” the aspiring reporter inside me died a little. It occurs to me that people don’t trust journalists. Often people in my line of work are treated like politicians. In some cases, maybe that’s true. Here’s my rebuttal:

No, not every Republican is a racist bigot that wants to catapult this country back into the Civil Rights era. And no, not every democrat is a thin-skinned lightweight that thinks the world should be baby-proofed with safe spaces and trigger warnings. But criticism of the Trump administration shouldn’t mark me as a Republican-bashing liberal, and praising it shouldn’t mean the opposite. The world is more complicated than that: I implore you to act accordingly.

This Friday, history will be recorded when Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. Thousands will take to the streets across the nation, and in Seattle. Odds are you’re one of them.

I would never try to stop you, but the country might benefit from a moment of reflection, on your part, as to why you plan on protesting this weekend. Whether your reason is good, your conviction strong or your mind made up, what happens at the end of this week may shape the future of this country.

In times like this I believe it’s crucial that people remain patient yet active, especially now as we stand on the cusp of a new administration in the White House. It remains that no country in history has perfected democracy. Even if you voted for Donald Trump, this election, and the pushback that followed its conclusion, is proof that we’re far from achieving that goal.

Nick Turner, News & Managing Editor

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  • Paige Reohr

    Powerful words!